You may not know it right now, but I guarantee that the eight short months that lie ahead of you in residence will be the most exciting, bizarre, confusing, whirlwind months of your sweet young life. You’re probably entering into it with a long list of expectations and cautionary tales of what you want to happen (make friends, get laid) and what you want to avoid (fail out, never get laid). The advice you’ll have heard most is, “make the most of your first year,” and it’s true. But “making the most of it” is not usually defined by the advice I’m about to give. I’m about to tell you to do the opposite of what you’d assume, and I mean it with every fiber of my nostalgic, upper-year being.

Gain the ‘Freshman 15’

No, seriously. Get hefty. Never again will you have such endless pre-paid, pre-cooked meal options at your fingertips. Embrace it with a full heart and a ready stomach. Yes, soon the photo on your student card will seem to glare at you with disapproval as you purchase yet another buffalo chicken wrap with extra cheese, flaunting how thin your face used to look. It will become hard to remember a time when your cheekbones were that prominent. Power through and keep eating. The weight will fall off in the summer, and come next September, you’ll resent all the first-years with their crisp new student cards and mourn the days when that fourth slice of pizza was just a swipe away.

Commit floorcest

Ok, I admit, this can get a little messy. It’s with your best interests in mind that your CA, your friends and every first-year survival handbook out there warns against getting romantically – or, let’s face it, just sexually – entangled with your next-door neighbours. There is nothing more awkward than having to live the next eight months on the same floor as a jilted, hormonal teen whose heart you may have just broken after a drunken, Welcome Week hookup. This is not the scenario I’m encouraging. Rather, when months have passed, friendships have comfortably settled on your floor in residence and you’re still longingly eyeing that girl or guy down the hall, don’t be afraid to rock the boat. Risk jeopardizing your close, cozy but unsatisfying friendship by initiating something more. Yeah, it might turn out to be uncomfortable, but it also might end up being the greatest leap you ever took. Trust me on that one.

Don’t be besties with your roommate

This can go one of two ways: either you came to Mac with your best friend from high school and are sharing a room in residence, or you were randomly paired with a stranger who instantly becomes your best friend. While it’s comforting to have a close friend help you make the transition from high school to university, it can also be socially limiting if (or should I say when) you rely on each other too much and don’t make the effort to meet other people on your floor or in your building. I can almost guarantee you will have a pair of such high school besties – usually girls – on your floor who are reclusive, exclusive and unintentionally unfriendly. They won’t even notice how, month after month of turning down invitations to hang-out/go-out/make-out, those invitations peter out and eventually stop coming, yet they’ll be confused and hurt come second year when they realize they don’t have very many friends. It’s an easy trap. Don’t be them.

So go forth, young froshies, and make the most of the eight months that lie before you in the North or West quads. Eat that extra slice of cake at East Meets West; knock on that cute ginger guy’s door on the fourth floor of Les Prince; venture outside of your suite in Bates. Do everything I did – and more.

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